BLACKADDER star Rowan Atkinson has insisted Boris Johnson should not apologise for his controversial comments about Muslim women – as it was a “pretty good” joke.

The former foreign secretary has been heavily criticised after saying Muslim women wearing face veils look like “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”.

He has so far refused to back down, and now faces a disciplinary investigation by the Conservative Party after it received dozens of complaints.

But in a letter to The Times, Mr Atkinson – one of Britain’s best-loved comedians – threw his weight behind Mr Johnson.

He wrote: “As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson’s joke about wearers of the burka resembling letter boxes is a pretty good one.

“An almost perfect visual simile and a joke that, whether Mr Johnson apologises or not, will stay in the public consciousness for some time to come.

“All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them. You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.”

The Mr Bean star has previously campaigned for the right to mock religion.

Prime Minister Theresa May has urged Mr Johnson to apologise.

The Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP made the controversial remarks in his Daily Telegraph column earlier this week.

He wrote that he did not support Denmark’s recent ban on face veils in public, but mocked the wearing of burkas.

A hundred Muslim women have now written to Tory chairman Brandon Lewis, insisting he withdraw the whip from Mr Johnson.

Nicola Sturgeon accused him of "Islamophobia" and "dog whistle politics".